Often those who plan meetings, sponsor trade shows, or attend conventions hear comments from their friends, co-workers, and family members about the fun side of the trips they take. Images of a constant party are all other people imagine about your job when you work in and around the meetings industry. Words like "Wow, how glamorous!" or "Lucky You!" are regularly tossed about. Office jealousies and arguments with spouses are common when they see the exotic locations that come with conference participation.
The reality is there not much time for sight seeing or enjoying the hotel amenities when you are at a conference. Scheduling is tight and the reasons for attending are to learn, network and promote your company's products or services. While there is often a lot of fun involved with these events, the fun is the bonus on top of the hard work involved.
Remembering that conferences are work is important for the person attending (or planning / sponsoring the event) and those around them. Having a focus on the purpose is paramount to success. To lament people for going to "party" does not change the truth -- Conferences involve a lot of work.
Beyond what the organizers must do to ensure a successful event, those who sponsor or attend must invest a lot of time in advance preparing. Once on site they need to be mentally plugged into the whole program. Keynotes and breakout sessions provide valuable information that needs to be processed and pondered to create any long term value. Meeting people takes effort, especially for those who identify as introverted. And the follow up can be a full time job for a week after everyone gets home. This is not a party, it is work.
Sometimes work is fun, but it is still a job.
Have A Great Day.
Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.http://www.conferencecatalyst.com